One of the Guardians of Traffic sculptures on the Hope Memorial Bridge near Progressive Field, where Cleveland’s baseball team plays.


Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians baseball team announced Friday that the team will change its name to the Cleveland Guardians. Actor Tom Hanks narrated the video announcing the name change, which came after the “Indians” name had been criticized for years as racist. Hanks once acted in Cleveland theater and is reportedly a big fan of the team. The video also features the song Little Black Submarines by the Black Keys, who are from Akron, Ohio.

Cleveland’s new name was inspired by giant Art Deco statues on the city’s Hope Memorial Bridge that are known as the Guardians of Traffic. The team will keep its blue and red color scheme, and a new logo featuring a winged baseball is also inspired by the Guardians statues. The team will finish out the current season as the Indians.

Together, we are all… pic.twitter.com/R5FnT4kv1I

— Cleveland Indians (@Indians)
July 23, 2021

Introducing the Cleveland Guardians!

The name will go into effect after the 2021 season. pic.twitter.com/ggCFyIRD2y

— MLB (@MLB)
July 23, 2021

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Guardians of Traffic

There was some positive social media reaction to the new name, though some people had fun with it, and others didn’t like the choice.

“Yup, we named our team after bridge statues,” said one Twitter user.

Yup, we named our team after bridge statues.

— McNeil (@Reflog_18)
July 23, 2021

For everyone going WTF about the new Cleveland Guardians, the team has been re-named after the beloved art deco statues on the historic bridge over the river at the Ballpark’s doors.

They’re the Guardians of Traffic. Here’s one. There’s eight total. They’re awesome. pic.twitter.com/xYmBLNI02I

— Derf Backderf (@DerfBackderf)
July 23, 2021

Guardians of…not the city…but of traffic? pic.twitter.com/d25fA7UuEV

— Jamie (@TheJamieEffect)
July 23, 2021

Quick peek at the new unis. pic.twitter.com/iIPNjHOzPI

— Chris Retzer (@planetretz)
July 23, 2021

Reminder that the movie Major League’s opening shot is of one of the “Guardians of Traffic” statues pic.twitter.com/LzCgIPO6mQ

— Tyler Buchanan (@Tylerjoelb)
July 23, 2021

MLB already has Trolley Car Dodgers, Metropolitans, Twin Cities, and City of Angels. It’s actually pretty traditional to go with some kind of local municipal reference.

— R Dean Johnson (@RDeanWriter)
July 23, 2021

Don’t act like there’s some perfect word that all you Mad Dad Cleveland fans would have been happy about. You’ll be fine. Everything’s fine. Go Guardians. #MadDads

— Mike Polk Jr. (@mikepolkjr)
July 23, 2021

Winging it

The winged baseball logo earned some attention. 

There is a special place in logo hell for this abomination pic.twitter.com/vtS48YuZHY

— Ryan (@Helo_312)
July 23, 2021

Adventures in Baseballing pic.twitter.com/KcYGd8G52w

— Chris (@WutevrPlusPlus)
July 23, 2021

this is why the logo looks like it does pic.twitter.com/CDee3MACFc

— actioncookbook, Guardians fan (@actioncookbook)
July 23, 2021

The wings are cool, but if you’re going to harken to an art deco thing, make the lettering art deco too.

— that’s MR old square to you, pal (@EffffBrandon)
July 23, 2021

The Cleveland Guardians isn’t a great name, but it isn’t a bad name. Holds onto the “dians” and has some meaning to the city. I just don’t know how the logo is that generic. So many great options out there… pic.twitter.com/7JkI81JPgX

— Benjamin Bill (@benjamin_bill)
July 23, 2021

Saving money on logos

Other people also noted that “Guardians” and “Indians” end in the same five letters, and joked that the team’s owners, the Dolan family, could save some money as a result.

Dolans went big on the new logo pic.twitter.com/CWJhRiVMMz

— JH (@huntsy7)
July 23, 2021

since the dians is on the right side when looking at the Jersey buttons, they only have to even really change the stitching on the left half of the jersey, cuttin’ corners to save a dime, savvy business move

— Griff (@Griffis_25)
July 23, 2021

Great work team pic.twitter.com/36nHAoDFlb

— Clemson Carl (@ClemsonCarl)
July 23, 2021

The Cleveland Indians redesigning their logo to the Cleveland Guardians in four steps. pic.twitter.com/UOwjrsToBb

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher)
July 23, 2021

Stay tuned for more social media name-change commentary someday soon. The Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins, has yet to announce its new name.